THE RULING Fatah party is going to run in the coming Palestinian legislative elections planned for May 22 in one list, today said Jibril Rjoub, secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee.
He told Palestine TV that ‘Fatah has taken a final decision and that is it will run in one list and that there will not be more than one list.’ He said that representatives of the various Palestinian political factions, along with the presidency of the Palestinian National Council, the parliament in exile, the Fatah Central Committee, and the Elections Commission are going to meet in Cairo on March 16 as scheduled to lay out clear mechanisms for the elections.
‘We have come a long way and crossed the most difficult round and we cannot go back as all factions of the Palestinian national movement adhere to this, which will lead us to renew the legitimacy of the political system and achieve national unity,’ said Rjoub.
He said the page of political detention, summoning, or trial based on factional backgrounds is going to be closed in the next three days, as called for in the freedoms decree.
Rjoub stressed the importance of reaching an agreement with its rival Hamas movement, because ‘if there is no agreement with Hamas on all the issues, the agreement between us will collapse. There must be agreement and control of all the issues that we must agree on with them.’
‘No one will be able to stand in the way of the elections,’ said the senior Fatah official. ‘The train of the democratic process has left the station and no one will stop it.’
Rjoub said Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to derail the Palestinian elections because he does not want to see Palestinian unity.
‘He is betting on some parties that don’t want us to have this historic opportunity, but we have powerful parties like Egypt and Jordan who are with us and support this process,’ he said.
- The Palestinian Presidency yesterday expressed its great appreciation for the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a criminal investigation into the Situation of Palestine, which includes the war on Gaza, settlements, and the prisoners in Israel.
The Presidency praised ‘the independence and courage of the Prosecutor in defending the right and freedoms,’ while also praising ‘the tireless efforts made in previous years to reach the goals we seek’.
The Presidency also expressed its appreciation for the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates and its diplomatic staff, which carried out its duties as directed by President Mahmoud Abbas in defence of the rights of the Palestinian people, praising, in particular, the role of the National Committee for Follow-up of the Court’s file and civil society institutions in this field.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health however warned yesterday of a great rise in the curve of coronavirus infections in Palestine, the spread of new corona variants, the high rate of hospitals’ admission, the number of cases connected to artificial respirators, and the number of deaths.
Ministry spokesman who is also responsible for the coronavirus file, Kamal al-Shakhra, told the official Voice of Palestine radio that the number of infections, deaths and serious cases could double in light of the reluctance of some people, especially workers, to be tested and the spread of South African and British variants, along with the possible arrival of other variants.
He said his ministry is ready to deal with these cases and follow up the situation in the laboratories as it awaits the results of the tests conducted for the New York variant.
Responding to media reports that the Palestinian health system is on the verge of collapse, Shakhra stressed that the health system has not collapsed, but rather is ready to open new wards and hospitals to receive people infected with coronavirus.
He said that some governors have called for a total lockdown in their districts due to the large spread of the virus and failure of people to observe preventive measures and that a meeting would be held with the Minister of Health Mai Alkaila to discuss the measures implemented in some governorates.
Nablus Governor Ibrahim Ramadan announced yesterday a total lockdown in his governorate for one week, starting Saturday. It includes a ban on movement of vehicles and closure of all shops and industry in light of the sharp increase of cases in the governorate.
Other governors have announced similar, yet less drastic lockdowns.
- A Member of Hamas Political Bureau, Husam Badran reaffirmed that the Cairo talks will be resumed next month as planned, stressing there are no options rather than unity.
‘As Palestinians, we have no options other than unity,’ Badran said in a press statement, adding: ‘The recent attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause require every Palestinian to agree on the Palestinian constants.’
‘The talks were not limited to discussing the reconciliation but an attempt to make a breakthrough in the Palestinian division through a different means, which is going back to the Palestinian people,’ Badran continued.
Badran noted that some matters should be resolved to heal the intra-Palestinian division.
After holding the legislative elections, Badran continued, a national unity government including all Palestinian factions and segments should be formed to unify Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza and handle all matters that have been affected by the internal Palestinian rift.
Badran stressed that his movement is keen on overcoming all hurdles facing the Palestinian elections so that the Palestinian people can identity their options without pressure or influence of any kind or by any party.
The Hamas official demonstrated that several countries have intervened to end the intra-Palestinian division, such as Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar and offer assurances to guarantee holding the Palestinian elections with its three stages.
As for Israeli attempts to intervene in the election process, Badran pointed out that the Israeli occupation is keen on perpetuating the intra-Palestinian division and foiling any effort to achieve Palestinian unity.
‘The Oslo agreement was one of the destructive stages of the Palestinian situation and created a large gap in it,’ Badran confirmed.
‘Every Palestinian is aware that we should overcome it (the Oslo accords) with its political, security and economic consequences,’ Badran added.
He continued: ‘This was clear in the Cairo talks, as the Oslo agreement was not mentioned by the representatives of all Palestinian factions and in the final statement as well.’
Concerning security coordination with the Israeli occupation, Badran affirmed that there is a Palestinian consensus on the popular and mass levels to reject security collaboration with the Israeli occupation.
Regarding normalisation with the Israeli occupation, Badran stressed that there is a unified Palestinian position against all forms of normalisation with the Israeli occupation.
‘We, the Palestinians, are directly affected by any Arab normalisation of ties with the Israeli occupation,’ Badran concluded. ‘The Arab parties that normalise with the Israeli occupation don’t benefit from it at the political, domestic, and international levels.’
Commenting on the EU lawmakers’ letter calling for halting ‘de facto’ Israeli annexation of the ‘occupied Palestinian West Bank, Member of Hamas International Relations Office Dr Basem Naim stated the following:
We welcome the joint letter sent by 422 EU lawmakers from 22 European states and various political parties, to the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and Foreign Ministers of the group as they criticised the Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territories, foremost among them Israeli settlement plans, land seizure, home demolitions, forceful displacement of the Palestinians and the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
‘They stressed that such policies do not serve stability in the region and undermine security and any prospects of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
‘This letter is a crucial step that should be followed by other steps to expose the aggressive Israeli policies against our Palestinian people.
‘Such a measure, in addition, should turn into action to put an end to the seventy-year Israeli occupation, and impose sanctions on the Israeli occupation to deter it from continuing its crimes against our Palestinian people and compel it to respond to our Palestinian people’s aspirations for freedom and independence.
‘We confirm that international silence regarding Israeli policies gives the Israeli occupation a green light to go ahead with its hostile schemes, which would in turn undermine security and stability on a regional and international scale.’